Ginger Scent in a Bowl of Tahok

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I have finished exploring Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace and its square, Klewer Market and Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace. I started down southern point of Jenderal Sudirman Street heading north. This was administrative area of ​​Solo City, I felt impressed when I passed Surakarta City Hall which was very majestic with its Joglo*1 roof.

Surakarta City Hall.

Sidewalk in front of city hall seemed to be made wider without a fence, this was because the office where mayor worked also acted as a people’s house who was ready to accept their complaints. The city hall was still quiet that morning, it hadn’t yet touched nine o’clock.

Arriving at a T-junction, classic appearance of Pasar Gede Clock Tower really captivated my eyes. The tower, which was neither high nor low, still showed the spurs of Dutch colonialism. This was Sudiroprajan area with its main icon, i.e Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market.

Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market.

I started to go to Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market. My goal was only one….TAHOK.

I didn’t even know what this traditional Solo culinary looked like, even the location and shape of its stall, I never imagined it. My step was getting closer to market building which looked silent when I looked at it from front gate.

But I was still on other side of street when I noticed a long queue which started at a food cart. I still didn’t know what the culinary which sell in food cart. After approaching and reading small banner which was hanging on its roof, I just found out, it turned out that a culinary which I had been looking for was right in front of my eyes. This was Mr Citro’s Tahok.

Me: “Sir, what are the ingredients?

Mr. Citro: “This is made from beancurd and ginger water, Sir“.

Me: “Rahadian, do you want to try or not ?. I want to try ”, I offered to Rahadian, who had been hesitating.

Rahadian: “No, sir. I don’t really like ginger. Sir Donny can eat it, I’ll just wait ”.

Me: “What?. You come for far way to Solo and how come you don’t try its culinary. It’s strange ”, Rahadian just smiled and took a bench in the corner of sidewalk.

I started to queue, some customers prefered to take away their orders. It show that they were loyal customers of this culinary. Not long in queueing, it was my turn to get a bowl of Tahok. The seller seemed to start to lightly scooping the beancurd and put it in the bowl many times until it was full, then poured ginger water until it drowned all beancurd.

Tahok food cart.
Tahok.

This was the fifth Solo City’s typical culinary which I enjoyed after Dawet Telasih Ice, Jenang Suro, Soto Kwali and Wedang Ronde which I ate a day ago. Combination of subtle texture and warmth of ginger made it perfect to ete in that morning which still blowed remains of last night’s cold wind .

I finished this culinary experience by handing over IDR 7,000 (USD 0.5) and started to leaving the food cart. Now I was heading to Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market inside for second time since yesterday. I was still curious about Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice which I didn’t find a day ago because it wasn’t open yet. I did have time to drink Ibu Hj. Sipon’s Dawet Telasih Ice as the replacement.

But my curiosity still paid off with no luck. Stall which I was looking for had not opened yet, even the market was still deserted and not many traders were present. My desire was delayed again.

Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market inside.

Later I would taste this Bu Dermi Dawet Telasih Ice two months since my arrival that day.

Note:

Joglo*1 is a type of traditional vernacular house of the Javanese people

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Klewer Market and the Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace

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Klewer Market in the morning.

I started walking to north towards Alun-Alun Lor (North Square) of Hadiningrat Surakarta Palace. Its distance was less than half a kilometer from palace courtyard. I arrived in five minutes. As far as my eyes could see, Alun-Alun Lor was quite well-maintained, with an area of ​​almost seven hectares. Covered by imperfect green grass which was covering the entire square, asphalt paths crossed from north to south and from west to east and in each side of square were surrounded by large trees (banyan trees in between). Meanwhile, to limiting the road which surrounding the square, a chest-high iron fence were built which aligned with inner boundary of sidewalk.

I seem lazy to go to the middle of square, just kept walking around it and intended to go to eastern part of square to kill my curiosity about the biggest textile shopping center in Solo, i.e Klewer Market. Like Tanah Abang Market in Jakarta, Klewer Market was the city’s economic pulse with a very capable cash flow cycle. I arrived right in front of market gate which was still quiet. Some traders have started to come and bringing coli of textiles upstairs. Meanwhile, several stalls seemed to be opened to prepare for trade that morning. I tried to step to the first floor and went around looking at each side. Looking at its surrounding conditions, I could imagine that this market would be very busy if all stalls were opened.

I won’t wait until Klewer Market actually was opened, I immediately went down and heading to north of the market. This time I would visit Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace which was still part of Hadiningrat Surakarta Palace. The mosque, with a three-tiered roofs, appeared to be devoted to witnessing the marriage of a couple who seemed to be important people, because I saw there was a greeting flower board from President Joko Widodo and his family. That event then discouraged me to entering the mosque.

Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace.
Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace

The mosque was decorated with classic lampposts in its courtyard, even more beautiful with its elegant single minaret which standing in north of courtyard. This 232-years-old mosque was still quite dashing and elegant standing at east side of Alun-Alun Lor which was side by side with Klewer Market.

Finally, I had been in the last part of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace complex. I started to leave palace area by passing eastern side of Slamet Riyadi Street which was marked by a Brigadier General Slamet Riyadi statue who looked dashing while pointing a gun into sky. Slamet Riyadi himself was a hero of Solo City who fall in Ambon while carrying out state duties in quelling the rebellion of Republic of South Maluku.

Now my intention was turning towards my first destination when I did the survey yesterday. I wasn’t looking for Dawet Telasih Ice, but a traditional culinary which was quite famous in Solo.

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